TSAMC'S 1997-98 End of Season Report
Respectfully Submitted By Lori A. Brinkley
Just prior to the start of the 1997-98 TSAMC Events Season, TSAMC lost one of its founders and most positive influences, Connie Meurett. On Labor Day, Sept. 8, 1997, several club members met at Connie's funeral to say good-bye to her and to embrace friends not seen for entirely too long.
The October/December 1997 Newsletter held a tribute to Connie written by various TSAMC members. Connie will be remembered and missed.
On Saturday, October 25, 1997, TSAMC started its season with its first ever Weight Pull Seminar as part of the TSAMC Season Kick-off Event. Marty Stringfield, John Schultz, and Duane Brinkley were on hand to answer questions and to give hands-on demos to teach new mushers how to teach their dog(s) to pull and to teach experienced mushers how to correct problems in experienced pullers. During the day, a reunion occurred spontaneously as several past members and current members arrived to enjoy the trails and the company of fellow mushers. Many acquaintances were reunited for some good, old- fashioned reminiscing and yarn spinning. After the work day was over, everyone was invited to come inside to enjoy a nice pot-luck meal (kept warm in crock-pots all day). Participants enjoyed chili, bar-b-que, Wisconsin Cheese, other hot dishes, and breads and rolls of all kinds. No one went away hungry. After the meal, TSAMC presented awards to the second season of Overall Season Points Champions. The top three dogs in each class were presented with nice desk top paper holders with places for their dog's picture. These had brass plates which were engraved with the dog's name, class, season, and placement. Brass name plates with the award engraved were also presented. These are to be put on the dogs' harnesses. As an added bonus, the winners from 1995-96 were also presented with these name plates to put on their harnesses, as well. Following the Overall Season Points Championship ceremony, John and Helen Schultz brought Hobbit into the building for the presentation of the first ever Hobbit Award of Excellence, given to the dog who earns the most overall points through-out the season. This year, the winner was Kodi Brinkley (with 113 pts). Duane Brinkley accepted the surprise award. Kodi is Hobbit's grandson, which made this award even more special to the Brinkleys. After the awards, the October membership meeting was held. Then Marty presented the evening's Seminar about what to look for in a weight pull track. At the conclusion of the evening seminar, participants were invited to roll out their sleeping bags to sleep in the open, log building. Several took advantage of this, while others sought near-by motels for the night.
The next day, the official TSAMC weight pull season began and the points for last season were erased and everyone started over on equal footing. Nutro Max dog food was the sponsor. 29 regular class dogs and 21 novice class dogs participated in the Kick-Off weight pull with top pulls of 1150 lbs for the 60 lb and under class, 1550 lbs for the 61 to 80 lb class, 1350 lbs for the 81 to 100 lb and the 101 to 120 lb classes, and 1750 lbs for the unlimited class. This pull was on wheels and the sandy infield of a frozen baseball diamond served as the pulling surface. Snow clouds hung low and threatening, but with so many people in one place wishing for it, the snow stayed away. It did, however, make travel home difficult for some of the participants.
During the following week, TSAMC sadly lost three of its four-legged members, including two of its best weight pullers. The October/December newsletter held the black ribbons for Ch. ZBear Cub's Brigus Clay (Brigus), a Newfoundland; Ch. Istari's Hobbit Forming WWPDX, WTD (Hobbit), a Malamute; and Gerbils an Alaskan Husky. These dogs will be forever missed.
Saturday, December 6, 1997, saw TSAMC at the Richland County Fairgrounds as 42 regular class dogs and 11 novice dogs competed in the sixth annual Nature's Mercy Weight Pull with top pulls of 1000 lbs in the 60 lb and under class, 1400 in the 61 to 80 lb and the 81 to 100 lb classes, 1600 in the 101 to 120 lb class and 1000 in the unlimited class. Diamond dog food was the sponsor. True to tradition, the amount of snow for kids' dogsled rides was insufficient to advertise ahead of time. However, there was enough snow to do some leaddog training on the sledding course. As the name implies, this event has always been at the mercy of nature. The snow depth varies largely from year to year, so the event was finally moved into an open building with a dirt floor. This event is now always held on wheels on this hardpacked dirt floor.
Thus far, the season had been normal, but El Nino was about to change things. For the 1997 - 98 season, Sarge's Tug was moved to The Springs Golf Club Resort by Spring Green, WI, the date was changed to Sat., Jan. 10, 1997, and Eagle Pack dog food was retained as the sponsor. A Sourdough Sally Dogsled Race was also added to the schedule of events and some nice prizes were promised by The Springs for both the pull and the race. Everything looked good. Then El Nino appeared. The week before Sarge's Tug was supposed to be held, there was no snow or frost in the ground, and grass was starting to grow... in January... in Wisconsin. TSAMC does not have to pull on snow (although we prefer it), but we have always pulled on frozen ground and never on concrete or asphalt... until this year. Two days before the event was scheduled to happen, there was green grass where the snow needed to be and no frost, so a decision had to be made. The race scheduled for Sunday had to be canceled and the weight pull was also in serious jeopardy, so the TSAMC Board of Directors made a tough decision. A carpet was purchased. The day before the pull, it did snow, but it was too little, too late and there was still no frost in the ground, so the snow was scraped off the asphalt of a parking lot and the pull went on as scheduled. 43 regular class dogs and 18 novice dogs participated with top pulls of 1000 lbs in the 60 lb and under class, 1200 lbs in the 61 to 80 lb class, and 1600 lbs in each of the 81 to 100, 101 to 120, and Unlimited classes. Owners of first place winners in each class received a free night's stay in a suite in The Springs' hotel; owners of second place dogs in each class received a free meal in The Springs' formal dining room; and owners of third place dogs in each class received a free meal in The Grill on the Green at The Springs.
A week later, on Saturday, Jan. 17, 1998, El Nino was kinder and provided just enough snow to pull on at the first ever Hobbit Haul Weight Pull at Mounds Pet Food Warehouse in Fitchburg, WI. 58 regular class dogs and 27 novice dogs competed to top pulls of 800 lbs in the 60 lb and under class, 1000 lbs in the 61 to 80 lb class, 1200 lbs in the 81 to 100 lb class, 1400 lbs in the 101 to 120 lb class, and 1200 lbs in the unlimited class. Mounds sponsored the event with a bag of Mounds Dog Power dog food and a bag of dog biscuits per dog, plus trophies for 1st through 3rd in each class, plus gift certificates. This event was named after Ch. Istari's Hobbit Forming WWPDX, WTD (Hobbit) and twenty-six (26) of his progeny were on hand to compete.
Two weeks later, on Sat. Jan. 31, 1998, TSAMC hosted the second Nikoba Weight Pull in Winona, MN, in conjunction with the Winona Jaycees' Winter Carnival. El Nino allowed enough snow to pull on as 31 regular class dogs and 19 novice dogs competed to top pulls of 1200 lbs in the under 60 lb and the 61 to 80 lb classes, 1400 lbs in 81 to 100 lb class, 1600 lbs in 101 to 120 lb class, and 1800 in unlimited. Tuffies dog food was the sponsor.
The following week, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 7 & 8, 1998, held the National Championship Weight Pull and the Sourdough Sally race at Christmas Mountain Village, by Wisconsin Dells, WI. Along with Christmas Mountain, Eukanuba Dog Food was the Sponsor. 67 regular class dogs and 16 novice class dogs competed on snow to top pulls of 1500 lbs in the 60 lb and under class, 1900 lbs in the 61 to 80 lb class, 2300 lbs in the 81 to 100 lb class, 2500 lbs in the 101 to 120 lb and the Unlimited classes. As the numbers say, we ran out of dogfood weight and had to pile volunteers on top. Three men ended up getting to ride the sled before the dogs were done.
Sunday's Sourdough Sally race was fun for competitors and spectators. Having forced a cancellation of the earlier Sourdough Sally race, El Nino decided to let this one proceed as planned. At the conclusion of this event, TSAMC was relieved to be moving on to northern Wisconsin for the last two pulls. Certainly our snow concerns were over for the year.
A few days before the Northwoods Championship Weight Pull was scheduled to start, we got a call from Eagle River. In southern Wisconsin, the grass was once more green, the trees were budding, and the flowers were sprouting, but certainly there was snow in northern Wisconsin. Not so.
Eagle River officials reported that the snow was long gone and the frost was out of the ground. The weight pull area was in fact knee- deep in mud. No place could be found to lay the carpet and pull on concrete or asphalt, either. Klondike Days volunteers saved the event by building a twelve (12) foot by forty (40) foot wooden platform with a carpeted floor and cattle panels for sides. It worked great!
On Saturday, Feb. 21, 1998, 60 regular class dogs and 15 novice class dogs competed for top pulls of 1200 lbs in the 60 lbs and under class, 1800 lbs in the 61 to 80 lb class, 2000 lbs in the 81 to 100 lb class, 2400 lbs in the 101 to 120 lb and the Unlimited classes. Eukanuba Dog Food was the sponsor.
The last event of the season was the Iarortuck Fun Finale in Mishicot, WI, on Saturday, March 7, 1998. This event has had a series of misadventures as the date has been changed every year, thus far. The first year, the event was later in March and was unofficially dubbed the "mud pull;" the second year it was the last weekend in January and was dubbed the "blizzard pull;" the third year, it was the second weekend in January, and it was dubbed the "wind chill pull." What would it be this year? 60 regular class dogs and 8 novice dogs competed to top pulls of 1012 lbs in the 60 lbs and under class, 1612 lbs in the 61 to 80 lb class, 1812 lbs in the 81 to 100 lb class, 2012 lbs in the 101 to 120 and the Unlimited classes. Harpts Lake Sportsman's Club and Buckeye dog food were the sponsors of this event which has unofficially been dubbed the "perfect spring day pull."
Going into Mishicot, the points race was undecided. Many of the classes were close all season, with leads changing several times. With the season over, the winners of the Overall Season Points Championship are as follows:
60 lbs and under class:
1st Buzzy Stringfield (95 pts)
2nd Betty Bonacorsi (70 pts)
2 nd Caesar Kreif (70 pts)
3rd Lightening Stringfield (68 pts)
61 to 80 lbs:
1st King Martin (142 pts)
2nd Ahnaka Schultz (137 pts)
3rd Tavar Schultz (135 pts)
81 to 100 lbs:
1st Grazzi Schultz (97 pts)
2nd Cat Bonacorsi (89 pts)
3rd Hoover Sheppard (88 pts)
101 to 120 lbs:
1st Kiana Beauchamp (67 pts)
2nd Reggie Martin (63 pts)
3rd Bubbadog Bonacorsi (60 pts)
1st Sheena Martin (59 pts)
2nd Major Popp (47 pts)
3rd Arnold Samuelson (17 pts)
Congratulations to these top finishers!